Mind Reading on Our Changing World

Radio NZ Our Changing World will feature the science behind Mind Reading tonight at 9pm.

The live MRI analysis event took place in Brain Awareness Week, and featured scientists Associate Professor Brett Cowan and Dr Donna Rose Addis. As part of ‘Mind Reading’ the experts were given the task of detecting the difference between a lie and a memory using Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Could they do it? Find out more on Radio NZ tonight!

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ourchangingworld

Did you miss any part of Brain Awareness Week?

All the lecture videos and photos are now online! See our website: www.cbr.auckland.ac.nz/brainweek

You can find lecture notes and videos from Brain Day here.

The theme for Auckland Brain Day 2012 was ‘brain fitness’. It featured an exciting range of lectures, discussions and workshops to keep your brain in top condition!

Leading scientists and clinicians from the Centre for Brain Research presented the latest information on topical brain issues. Discussions with community experts provided the opportunity to discover practical tips on living with brain disorders. Meanwhile interactive workshops and hands-on demonstrations revealed the wonders of the brain.

As part of the Mind Reading event, Dr Donna Rose Addis and Associate Professor Brett Cowan were asked to spot which pattern of brain activity looked most like a true memory using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) brain scans.

The event was organised by the Centre for Brain Research and the Centre for Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (CAMRI) at The University of Auckland. Promising to reveal the science of brain imaging, ‘Mind Reading’ offered an entertaining look at the capabilities of brain imaging thanks to MRI technology. View the event online here.

 

Brain Awareness Week – read all about it!

Over 3000 people gave their brain a workout at Brain Day on Saturday March 17th. It was a fantastic end to an amazing Brain Awareness Week for us!

The Centre for Brain Research revealed the science behind MRI technology, with the promise of ‘Mind Reading’ as a future possibility. You can view the event here: www.cbr.auckland.ac.nz/mindreading

Brain Day was an amazing opportunity to meet the experts and hear all about the latest brain science. Videos from the lectures will be up on the web in a week, but in the meantime you can learn more about the event in these articles.

NZ Doctor previewed the event: http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/news/2012/march-2012/01/brain-day-a-chance-to-hear-from-experts.aspx

Drug researcher Dr Trecia Wouldes appeared on BfM in Brain Awareness Week, talking about her research on women using drugs in pregnancy.

Communications Manager Laura Fogg talked about brain fitness on Bfm, discussing how people can keep fit and give their brain a workout throughout life. 

Stroke rehabilitation and exercise researchers Dr Cathy Stinear and Professor Winston Byblow appeared on Good Morning talking about brain fitness and plasticity.

Dr Cathy Stinear’s research on brain plasticity also appeared on 3news online. Our brain is constantly changing, and so technology may influence our ability to concentrate.

Our Changing World is also due to go on air soon. We will keep you updated!

Mind Reading event video now online

Mind Reading featured MC Russell Brown, A/P Brett Cowan and Dr Donna Rose Addis.

If you missed this awesome event, you can now view the live brain scan analysis online.

We have four videos showing the different sections of the night:

  • Introduction to MRI
  • Mind Reading in Motion
  • Memorable Experiences
  • Truth or Lie

Let us know what you think and enjoy!

www.cbr.auckland.ac.nz/mindreading

Truth or Lie?

This was the critical question answered in the ‘Mind Reading’ event on Wednesday. Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) brain scans, Dr Donna Rose Addis and Associate Professor Brett Cowan were asked to spot which pattern of brain activity looked most like a true memory.

The event was organised by the Centre for Brain Research and the Centre for Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (CAMRI) at The University of Auckland, as part of Brain Awareness Week. Promising to reveal the science of brain imaging, ‘Mind Reading’ offered an entertaining look at the capabilities of brain imaging thanks to MRI technology.

So could they do it? Well the answer was a hesitant yes! At the live event held at the Auckland Museum Events Centre, MC journalist Russell Brown pushed cognitive neuroscientist Dr Addis to make a choice, and it turned out her pick was indeed the scan taken while participant Reece Roberts was remembering a true experience.

The central premise of the event revolved around psychology student Reece being put through an exciting experience – in this case a whiz around a race track – which he then had to remember. In the alternate scenario, he then had to ‘remember’ an event which never happened. In other words he had to lie and try to fool the scanner.

Memory and imagination actually use overlapping brain regions and so the scans from each scenario looked remarkably similar. The packed out public audience of 400 held their breaths while the choice was made, and finally the correct answer was revealed. It turned out that increased activity in the hippocampus, which organises memory, was the clues which gave the game away for Dr Addis.

So does this mean that MRI scanners could be used for lie detection? Well the answer was still a resounding no. The technology shows increasing promise for understanding human behaviour and thought, but is not reliable when scanning just one individual. This is because scientific experiments are usually conducted with a large group of people and repeated many times so that the responses are averaged out. 

However MRI technology, like the 3T Siemens scanner at CAMRI, is still hugely exciting for the future. With international research revealing that thoughts can be turned into words, and that people in comas still imagine moving, the sci-fi scenario of mind reading isn’t too far away.

Sneak preview of our memorable experience for Mind Reading!

Mind Reading – the memory!

As part of our attempt to mind read, we put our participant Reece Roberts through a memorable experience! Here Reece experiences high speeds in a race car, something he is sure to remember forever. View the You Tube clip.

Our scientists from the Centre for Brain Research then had to use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to see if they could tell the difference between this memory and a lie, using only Reece’s brain scan.

Can they do it? Find out more at www.cbr.auckland.ac.nz/mindreading

Send us your questions for Mind Reading!

Truth or lie? That’s our big question for our Mind Reading event, which we’ll attempt to answer on Wednesday evening.

We’ll use MRI to see if we can tell the difference between imagination and memory. It’s a big task, and one we can’t wait to get the answer to!

But do you have a question of your own? Anything about how MRI works, what it can be used for and what’s the limit of our knowledge right now? Or a question about brain research – what can MRI tell us about the human mind?

It’s up to you, so send us your questions before Wednesday. Email cbr@auckland.ac.nz

You can book tickets for Mind Reading here.